Schwerin, pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, is less than an hour away from Hamburg by train; it is easy to get there and back in one day. It is one of the lovely Medieval towns in the north of Germany which are preserved in their old-world charm, and which attract a large number of visitors. Schwerin is the oldest town in the region, it was granted city rights about a thousand years ago. The first mentions of its most famous attraction, the palace, can be found in the year 973! It is situated on an island in the lake called Schweriner See. I suspect it’s been built, rebuilt, renovated and restored many times through the centuries. Today, it is an imposing huge structure with large gardens laid all around it. One can only imagine how beautiful they look in summer, with numerous flower-beds, shady paths, cozy pavilions and magnificent statues. Inside, the palace is quite impressive too. Lots of beautifully adorned spacious rooms including the Throne room, winding wide staircases, the pictures on the walls, the period furniture, the large windows, each with an amazing view of the gardens, the lake and the town, all produce a huge lasting impression on a visitor. We loved it that there were plenty of families with young children strolling around, as it is very important to acquaint the youngsters with the history and the culture of one’s own country.

The town itself is very pretty and clean, with lots of old buildings, churches, squares and parks. Hundreds or maybe thousands of sea-gulls hop along the river banks, and the air is filled with their strident cries. We stopped by at Prague café on our way back from the palace, and enjoyed a great lunch topped with generous pieces of various cakes from their extensive dessert counter. Then we walked around the town, visited the old church, looked at the Christmas markets and even caught a funny little street concert with the musicians dressed up as polar bears. A skating rink, a Ferris wheel, the old mill replica, the gingerbread displays, and most of all the families enjoying the mild weather and the holiday spirit all added to the picture of a lovely day. Images of the old buildings caught through an arch or seen at a glance into a side street all formed a wonderful tapestry, a bright portrait of our common history, to be preserved and enjoyed by generations to come.


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